Indiana State Politics and Policymaking Research Example

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1885 Words
Date:  2022-05-09


Indiana, the 'land of the Indians' or the 'Hoosier State', is an American state that borders Lake Michigan and the state of Michigan to the north, Ohio to the East, Illinois to the west and Kentucky to the south. Indiana is, therefore, an integral part of the American Midwest. Most of its land is open to the settlers of the US. Since 1825, its capital has always been in Indianapolis. Just like any other states, Indiana has various political institutions that matter in the public policymaking process as shall be described.

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The form of governance at Indiana is the constitutional democratic republican (The Indiana Republican Party, n.d: Tackett, 2018). In its governance, Indiana has three branches, the executive, legislative and the judicial systems. In its legislature, Indiana is made up of the General Assembly, consisting of the Senate and the House. The general assembly consists of representatives for the house and senators for the Senate. Its general assembly is composed of two-year divisions. It is the representative districts in the state, which elected representatives of the general assembly. From the 100 representative districts in the region hails representatives for the general assembly who serve a period not exceeding two-year terms. The leadership of the house consists of a speaker, who is certainly the leader, put in place by representatives. As decided by the majority party, nomination of the speaker can be done by the members of the house. Each party, the majority and minority party elects their leaders, deputies, assistants, and party conference chairs. The flow of legislation in the house is controlled by the speaker along with other tasks including deciding parliamentary issues.

On the other hand, the senators are elected from each of the 50 legislative districts in the state. However, as compared to representatives, senators may serve either a two-year term or a four-year term. This period may be influenced by certain factors as determined by the Senate after a period of two years. Therefore, the sitting senators may be reelected by a third of the Senate after a two-year term. The Senate is led by the president and just as elections happen in the house, so do they in the Senate. The majority and minority parties in the Senate elect their presidents, assistants and party caucus chairs. Since 1992-2013, the Republican Party has always been the majority party in the Senate. The movement of legislation from a committee to the Senate floor is controlled by the Senate president.

A new district map is always drawn after at least ten years as an assurance that the state's population and demographic factors are considered by the general assembly. As soon as a new district map is drawn, elections can be made to reflect the new changes that may see new districts or merging of two or more districts. The offices of senators and representatives can be grounded in their districts. The members are, however, divided along partisan lines with each chamber encompassing a majority and minority party. Placement of the representatives and senators in their districts makes them the most powerful people in the legislative branch as they determine the success of passing a proposed legislation.


The state executive organization of Indiana comprises of state legislators and state judges (The green papers, n.d.). The various executive positions in Indiana are the governor, attorney general, auditor of state, commissioners of insurance and labor, the directors of agriculture and natural resources, the secretary, superintendent, treasurer, utility regulatory commission and the lieutenant governor. The governor of the state, however, represents the highest state office of the state. Election of the governor happens after four years, with a limitation of two terms. Indiana Constitution, Article 5, Section 1 of the state's act states that the governor can only be in office for four years, and a period not exceeding eight years in a period of twelve years. Governors are elected during presidential elections. The gubernatorial election years of the state and country are leap years. As soon as a particular political party holds the office and a majority, the state should be governed by the trifectas of the state government. In case there is a tie amongst two candidates, a joint session of the general assembly consisting all senators and representatives should cast ballots to determine the winner of the elections. The office of the governor is addressed by the state constitution in line with article 5 outlining the executive department.

The governor has a variety of powers while in office as established in the Indiana Constitution. It is his duty to generally manage the state government besides being the chief executive of the executive branch of the state government. In the state's governance, he is tasked with the duty of associating with the Indiana general assembly and the Supreme Court of Indiana. The governor should also balance other branches including the power to veto legislation as passed by the representatives and senators. The governor also has powers to call for a special impromptu session of the general assembly for a time not exceeding that indicated in the constitution.

The governor has an appointment power that influences the courts. He may choose the best person for the state courts from the Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission's list of candidates. In his other powers, he may also call out the state defense force or the National Guard as soon as he realizes an emergency. He should be making sure that the state laws are enforced. Additionally, his powers also allow him to pardon or commute the sentence of a criminal offender with an exception of impeachment cases. Besides, he may enquire conditions of institutions of administrative officers, and fill vacancies in courts, if not outlined in the law. Eric Holcom, the current governor from the Republican Party has been successful due to his compliance with the duties and powers assigned.

State Courts

Indiana State Courts consist of the state court system and the four federal courts. In the hierarchy, the Supreme Court is the highest court consistency of 4 justices and 1 chief justice. It is the mandate of the Supreme Court to review and revise sentences imposed by courts at the bottom of the hierarchy (Indiana Trial Courts RSS, n.d.). Being the court of the last resort in the state, the Supreme Court exercises appellate jurisdiction under various terms and conditions as outlined in the rules except those from judgments that impose death sentences (Header, n.d). In the hierarchy also is the court of appeal that divides the state into five multiple districts. Each district is assigned 3 judges who select their chief judge and presiding judges. The court of appeal also has a jurisdiction over the civil and criminal appeals that are disregarded by the Supreme Court besides reviewing the final decision of the state agencies including the Utility Regulatory Commission, the Department of Workforce Development and the Worker's Compensation Board (Header, n.d).

The tax court in the state courts consists of one judge who has jurisdiction over original tax appeals for cases arising under the tax laws of the state. Each of the appeals made by the tax court is always taken directly to the Supreme Court. The court functions as an appellate court but may also function in a way similar to a trial court on the grounds of the case ordering various taxpayers to pay various amounts in taxes (Header, n.d ). The superior courts in the judiciary vary with counties. These courts have had 201 judges as of 1st January 2016. Their jurisdictions are made of original and countercurrent systems in every civil and criminal case presented. The courts also present an appellate jurisdiction over various city and town courts just as the probate and circuit courts have. The judges are elected at the general elections for terms not exceeding 6 years. As similar to the superior courts, the jurisdiction of the probate court consists of one judge who is selected by voters of the county in a partisan election. Other courts in the judiciary comprise the small claims courts, the city courts, and the town courts. The five judges in the state's highest courts are not limited to any party, gender or race.

Since 1996, Indiana has always utilized a single caseload measurement system (WCMS) that establishes a method that compares trial court caseloads. The most recent important issues weighted by the courts include the "Indiana Caseload Assessment Plan to Utilize Resources Efficiently (CAPTURE) report being published in 2016" (Header, n.d). In this caseload, the participation of each judicial officer in the state was required. It was seen that only three out of 475 judicial officers only did not keep track of their

Political parties

The law in the state of Indiana facilitates the nomination of party candidates through a party primary election. The primary election is an election that determines the narrowing of the candidate's field for an elective office given or to evaluate and decide the candidates to be nominated by the political parties, who are to contest in the general election. There are a number of different forms that can take part in primary elections. Voters can make choice of a candidate in the partisan primary, who becomes the nominee of the political party for a certain office in regards to the general election. The law in Indiana State requires that, for one to participate in party's primary, the voter must either have intentions to vote for the party's nominee majority in the waited general election or voted for the party's nominee's majority in the previous general election. In both presidential primaries and other offices primaries, such as state-level offices and congressional offices, the plurality votes determine the primary contest winners.

The two main political parties in Indiana State are the Democratic party of Indiana and the Republican party of Indiana (, n.d). Although, the Republican party of Indiana seems to be in control; it has had an upper hand in the 2016 election results and since 2011, the Republicans had held a trifecta. The state senate was held from 1992 to 2004 by the Republicans. The state house was held by the Democrats since 1999 to 2004, whereas after 2004, there was a shift of the state to the Republicans. During the period in 1992 to 2004, there was a split-party control in Indiana where the Republican had control of the state senate; the Democrats were in control of the governorship, whereas there was a frequency shift of the statehouse (Martin & Healy, 2016).

According to National Institute of Money in State Politics, the total funding received by each political party in Indiana State is as follows: the association of republican association of governors contributed about $10,675,745 in 2016, whereas the association of Democratic governors contributed $3,095,252 (Internal Revenue Service, 2015). Generally, there was a total contribution of about$33,976,579 to the Democratic Party, whereas the Republican Party had $76,181,835, in 2016. In contrast to this, in the year 2012, which was the previous general election, the Democratic Party received a funding of $25,534,333, while the Republican Party got over $58,819,378 (Indiana Election Division Staff, 2015).

Interest Groups

The Indiana state parties and stakeholders comprising the measures of the ballot campaigns should follow the campaign finance laws in the state (The Voter's Self Defense System, n.d). These policies restrict the money amounts and sources donated or received for the purpose of politics. Extensively, the finance laws on campaign outline the requirements disclosu...

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